Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hamlin Garland ~ Writer, Poet, Radical & Virgoan.

Poking around the net to find a character born around this time of year to investigate, I noticed that a writer, name unfamiliar to me, was born this day, 14 September in 1860 - and what a colourful name he had! Hamlin Garland. Hamlin brings thoughts of the Pied Piper of... and Garland always reminiscent of sweet flowers or...of Judy! Hamlin Garland was a good fit for his Mercury-ruled Virgo Sun - a writer and poet with, according to Wikipedia, an interesting side interest in psychic phenomena: "After moving to Hollywood, California, in 1929, he devoted his remaining years to investigating psychic phenomena, an enthusiasm he first undertook in 1891. In his final book, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses (1939), he tried to defend such phenomena and prove the legitimacy of psychic mediums." Mr Garland died in March 1940.

Hamlin Garland, Prairie Radical
Writings from the 1890s

Preserving the spirit and personal convictions of the Midwest's outspoken native son

"I am a reformer--a radical--a promoter of Democracy..."- Hamlin Garland to Horace Traubel, 13 January 1892

As a self-proclaimed native "son of the middle border" states of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, Hamlin Garland wrote short stories, novels, and essays about the harsh realities of farm life. At a time when rural romanticism was in literary vogue, he described conditions for midwestern farmers as they really were and promoted a wide variety of reforms to improve their lives, including women's rights legislation and single-tax reform.

The volume reprints much of Garland's radical fiction and nonfiction from between 1887 and 1894, almost all previously uncollected, including four of his most outspoken stories depicting farm conditions of the time. Fueled by moral outrage and a cry for justice shaped by his own family's hardships in Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota, the radical writing of his early career is filled with compassion and fury.

Seeking to reinvigorate an appreciation and understanding of Garland's centrality in the rise of a post–Civil War radical spirit in American expression, this collection assembles the most vibrant and representative examples of his radical 1890s writings.

One of his poems:

Do you fear the force of the wind,
The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them,
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane:
The palms of your hands will thicken,
The skin of your cheek will tan,
You'll grow ragged and weary and swarthy,
But you'll walk like a man!

In the spring of of 1939 I had the pleasure of conversing with Hamlin Garland on the terrace of his home on De Mille Drive, Hollywood. Garland then seemed in good health, a short but stocky man with a white mane of hair and stubby fingers. His garrulousness, his accurate memory for details belonging to another century, and his physical energy belied his seventy-eight years. Our conversation ran naturally to books, to his experiences in the Middle West, to his meetings with western writers like Joseph Kirkland and Edward Eggleston, and to his own ideals as a novelist. He remarked that he could not stomach the fiction of John Steinbeck, nor the work of any writer who limited himself to the evil and ugly aspects of life. To him, the novelist who wrote of nothing but the seamy and the revolting was guilty of gross distortion..........

Hamlin Garland, born 14 September 1860 near West Salem, Wisconsin. Time of birth unknown, chart set for 12 noon.

Mercury-ruled Virgo is predominant, with Sun, Moon, Mercury and Saturn in that sign (degree of Moon not known without time of birth, but Moon definitely somewhere in Virgo.) An easily recognised writer's signature there! As for his interest in psychic phenomena, I'd relate that to Neptune sextile Mars/North Node, also to the opposition from Neptune in its own sign of rulership Watery, dreamy Pisces to his practical, Earthy Virgo Sun.

His radical side links to Uranus (planet of the rebel) in Gemini (the other Mercury-ruled sign) in sextile to Jupiter and Venus in Leo; and to Uranus in challenging square to a much less rebellious Mercury in Virgo.

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